~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

May 14, 2014
by countryfun

Travels with Charlie: MAINE Footprint Lobster #bookingusa

We so enjoyed being involved with Booking Across the USA (Trip 1) last year. It was fun to connect with others from across the other states. So many new books and fun activities to explore. So when Booking Across the USA Trip 2 was announced we jumped at the chance to participate again.  50 bloggers sharing activities related to their state with all ideas being inspired by a new series of books! What’s not to like about this?

We got our learning started with a new book: Travels with Charlie – Travelin’ the Northest by Miles Backer. Who says you have to start every book on the first page? Not me, so we started the reading with our own state of Maine and continued through the Northeast comparing these other states to ours. (Future Venn Diagram) This series and discussion opens up a way to develop an understanding of the USA in the preschoolers here.

My original idea was to combine reading this book with all the questions that have been raised as we prepare to head off to various schools for K next year. I figured we could start from the big picture – Earth, heading to USA, to Maine and then our homes in our towns. We are still doing that, but will be expanding into making personal books about Maine.

This simple activity takes coffee filters, markers (not sharpies), white art paper and water.


  1. Color, scribble is best, onto the coffee filter with the markers. We viewed the earth as seen from space on our iPads to figure out the colors and what those colors represented. – Our choices were: blue, green and brown. the empty spaces would give us white.
  2. Place filter in middle of the white art paper (we used drawing paper, construction paper and copy paper all worked fine), start spraying with water. Really get the coffee filter wet. You will see the colors start to blend and parts of the filter will lift (do not push down). Leave everything in place until it dries.
  3. Once dry lift up filter, reposition on the paper and spray well again. Let dry. This can be done multiple times, but we only needed these 2 color areas.
  4. Using a clear circle shape place where you like the Earth image, trace around. Cut out saving remaining paper for the USA outline to come.

We have completed the earth and background for the USA outline, but the discussions have shifted our focus just now. The children want to know more about Maine.


In answer to their interest I headed to the library in search of books about Maine. Little did I expect to have such a large and varied collection of titles to explore and chose from.

Needless to say the idea I had for the initial project has also evolved and will not be completed in time for the link up today (the 14th). I will definitely link up once done or you can check back here or on one of the other social media connections I use.

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Allowing the children to direct what books we explored next, they chose the Moose stories. DSC04510 (Never imagined I’d find a use for the jar of dried moose droppings we have sitting on a book shelf. It was fun to show the children, discussing size, shape and how we could see the fibers from the plants that moose eat.) However, it’s been the books about lobsters (Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar, open below) and islands that have engaged the children the most.  DSC04517 islands

I pulled together materials for a simple and fun activity I’ve done in the past – a footprint lobster.

PS- Live lobsters are brown. They turn red once cooked. The children chose to do red, not brown. That is the color used most in advertising here, so they think of lobsters as being red.


  1. copy paper (we’ll be cutting out), thin red paint and wipes
  2. paint bottom of one foot
  3. place carefully on one short edge of paper, pressing down firm. (Watch out that the toes are to the edge.)
  4. wipe foot clean
  5. paint palms of both hands
  6. position hands over heel area, finger together, thumb out, place and press down
  7. wash hands
  8. let dry
  9. cut out lobster


Chose background paper (we used 9″x12″ blues from the textured paper stash). Have book open to the page with clear example of the lobster’s body.

  1. lobstercut out rock shapes (more textured paper)
  2. glue down rocks then place and glue down lobster
  3. color arm section where claw attaches to body
  4. glue on eyes and antennas (cut into 2 pieces, does not stayed glued as well when folded)
  5. add 8 legs (“L” shape)
  6. lines for tail section
  7. label body parts


These will be added as a page to our Maine books.


May 13, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on 35 Books About Maine #bookingusa

35 Books About Maine #bookingusa

For Booking Across the USA  Trip 2 (2014), I have compiled a list of books about Maine that can be used with preschoolers through elementary. I was surprised how many I could actually pull from my own personal library when I started this search. All these books are currently being explored by the children here.

Many are familiar with these well known Maine stories:  One Day in Maine, Blueberry for Sal and Miss Rumphius, so I have not listed them here.  I was surprised at the fairly large number of books available today on Maine and the variety. It has made for some fun exploration and unexpected learning opportunities.

We started this all off with 1) Travels with Charlie book for our section of the country- Travelin’ the Northeast by Miles Backer.  The 4 book series by Blue Apple Books is filled with history, trivia facts and bright landmark illustrations on each state in each region.  An extra fun point was realizing we needed to search for Charlie on each state page. Seeing our state in this way, the open discussions comparing Maine to the other states inspired us to spend more time learning more about this state in which we live.

Books that provide more general factual information about Maine:

2) I Love Maine by Jeff Cox and Nancy Griffin – Simple board book with clear illustrations. 1 or 2 sentences per page about the highlights of Maine geographically, it’s main industries and wildlife.

3) Good Night Maine by Adam Gamble – Very simple board book. Starting with a “good morning” and travels through Maine through the day until settle with “good night”.

4) Maine ABC by Susan Ramsay Hoguet – Distinct Maine icons make up this rhyming verse ABC book.

5) L is for Lobster – A Maine Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds – This rhyming ABC book covers a bit more of the history of Maine like the Algonquin Nation of Native Americans or the battle between the Enterprise and Boxer. The page sidebars contain a wealth of factual information to be used as appropriate for the age group and lesson material.

6) Maine – The Pine Tree State by Robin Koontz – From PowerKiDs Press and part of the Amazing States series. Real photos accompany most of the factual pages. These pages go into detail, yet remain readable with children. Well rounded resource with symbols, state map and bolded key words on information pages.

7) Maine – Facts and Symbols by Emily McAuliffe – Right off you have state map and fast facts. This book really focuses on the symbols.

8) Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith –  Join a family as they travel from the city to Maine for a vacation. Love that we get to count to 20 as we see what the family finds in Maine worth counting.

Maine Wildlife Books:

9) Maine’s Favorite Birds by Jeffrey V. Wells & Allison Childs Wells –  This is formatted like a traditional bird book, but contains only birds commonly found in Maine. The bird images are a nice size and make it easy for children to compare to the birds in their environment.

10) The Wildlife of Maine: A Coloring – Learning Book . This book is part of the “Adventures in Maine” Learning – Coloring books. This book contains ready-to-color images of the wildlife of Maine in their habitat. There are also facts about each animal provided.

11) A Loon Alone by Pamela Love – A day in the life of a baby loon chick. We see the other wildlife common to the habitat. The illustrations are scientifically correct, so you get a good real life look at all the animals presented.

12) Moon Loon by Sandy Ferguson Fuller – This story is written from the personal experience of it’s author from her summer visits to a lake in Maine. It’s about a solitary loon.

13) Moose by Anthony Fredericks – Part of the Our Wild World series – This non-fiction book contains pictures of moose from all locations they reside, not just Maine. It is worth including because of the facts presented and the moose is the state animal. So named in 1979.

14) I Met a Moose in Maine One Day by Ed Shankman – With a title like this you know this is a funny, nonsense story. The moose takes a young boy on a trip around Maine from such places as Belfast, Friendship, Camden and Rome.

15) Moose, of Course! by Lynn Plourde – A young boy wants to see a moose, so he sets off to find one. The best advice he got was to “Do nuthin!”

16) The Adventures of Maynard… a Maine Moose by Marybeth Baker – Maynard is a gentle Maine moose who wants to be smaller and quieter like all the other animals in the forest. Moose are big and a bit loud. With the help of his wildlife friends Maynard learns that being different can be special. Being kind and gentle is more important than big and loud to all his friends.

Maine Islands and Ocean Life:     

17) Going Lobstering by Jerry Pallotta – Two children get to go out on a lobster boat one day. Big Joe, the lobsterman, explains everything to them about how one fishes for lobster and includes them in that day’s catches. The story is fiction, but the facts are non-fiction.

18) Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar – Dahlov Ipcar’s illustrations are worth reading her books for. Lobsterman is a story about a fishing village on the coast of Maine and what daily life is like for a lobsterman and his son.

19) What the Sea Left Behind by Mimi Gregoire Carpenter – Meet Tessa. She’s a young artist that gathers things left behind by the sea to paint. The Atlantic Ocean leaves many interesting things along the rocky coastland and on the sandy beaches. Through the realistic paintings used for the illustrations you to can get a good understanding of just what Tessa has collected.

20) Surrounded by Sea: Life on a New England Fishing Island by Gail Gibbons – Follow the changes on an island fishing village through the seasons. (This could be any island off the New England states, but since Maine has the most of these, we used it as part of our exploration.) As with all Gail Gibbons books they are factually based.

21) Island Alphabet: An ABC of Maine Islands by Kelly Paul Briggs – Imagine an island to match each letter of the alphabet and fun little facts to go along with each simple letter poem. Compass, Lime, Mount Desert, Otter, or York for a few.

22) L.L.Bear’s Island Adventure by Kate Rowinski – L.L. Bear (yes, there is an L.L. Bean connection) takes his sea kayak out around Blueberry Island for a last Autumn picnic before all his friends head on their way for hibernation or migration. A bad storm hits and one of the friends is caught in it. Working together everyone turns up safe.

23) Andre’ The Famous Harbor Seal by Fran Hodgkins – This special seal spent it’s summers in Rockport, Maine where a special relationship developed with harbormaster Harry Goodridge. This relationship from when Andre’ was a seal pup until they both died has become a legend.

24) Seal Pup Grows Up: The Story of a Harbor Seal by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld – Just what the title says this book is about what the life of a seal pup is like. Non-fiction told in story form.

25) Fishing for Numbers: A Maine Number Book by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds – Learning about the history of Maine through counting. Each illustration has a simple counting rhyme accompanying it with addition historical information to allow further learning as appropriate. Many sections are connected to the sea which played and continues to play an important part in Maine’s history and economy.

26) Puffin’s Homecoming: The Story of an Atlantic Puffin (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Darice Bailer – Each spring Puffins come from the Atlantic Ocean to nest and breed, before returning to the Ocean. Follow this experience in this factual story.

27) Lighthouse Lullaby by Kelly Paul Briggs – Imagine a snowy night on an island in Maine. What would it have been like for the keeper of the lighthouse and his family? This poem and illustrations can help you get there. The illustrations were inspired from a nineteenth-century family photo album from a lighthouse keeper on Boon Island Light.

Poetry about Maine:

28) At One in a place called Maine by Lynn Plourde – This story is written as a poem “I live in a place…..” “I am at one…….” The beauty of the painted illustrations flow along with the expression of the words. For us, Lynn Plourde is know for her sillier stories. The serenity and love in this story was a surprise. She definitely touched on my feelings for this beautiful state I feel lucky to live in.

29) A Kittery Kayaker by Webster Bull – A collection of limericks about Maine its places and the things that make those special.

30) A Garden of Whales by Maggie Steincrohn Davis – A poem about whales. The author’s wish would be to bring back whales to the sea by growing them in gardens. We can not. We need to honor whales. (Whaling itself was not big in Maine, but building ships used for whaling was. The whaling industry here now is all about whale watching.)

Our Backyard Maine:  

31) The Henhouse: A true story of life on a Maine farm by Carol Shorey Dean – A young girl begs her father to let her help with the care of the chickens. Once in the henhouse she finds out how scary aggressive roosters  can be. How smelly chicken poop is and how loud 100’s of chicken are. She is rescued by her dad, but being real to life this is not a warm and fuzzy book.

32) Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde – Silly take on a real side of Maine – mud season. Fun rhyming verse and nuthin’ can beat “rud” for a sense of a true Maine expression.

33) Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell – Follow a young girl through a year as she follows a flock of wild turkeys through her back yard woods. Maine has a large population of wild turkeys. We get to watch them in the field behind our place.

34) Turtle Splash: Countdown at the Pond  by Cathryn Falwell – Frog Song Pond is 2 miles from our place. Through this book you can see the wildlife that visit it through a day as 10 turtles disappear into the pond. It’s the same wildlife we are familiar with around our homes.

35) Scoot! by Cathryn Falwell – Visiting Frog Song Pond again. This time with different wildlife visiting and more focus on sounds and movements. What finally makes 6 silent, still turtles scoot? (We have been lucky enough to have been invited to visit the pond and spend time with author Cathryn Falwell. That really makes that connection between children and a book.)

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